Deborah Waldkoetter - Guest Blogger: Alliance Co-chair, Food and Gift Committee
September 1. For so many people that is a magic date—the first day of the Apple Store
at Conner Prairie season and all that it promises…..the best caramel apples, frozen cider slushies, hot apple pie, cider and pumpkin donuts, freshly popped popcorn, a wall of beautiful Indiana apples and jars of cinnamony apple butter.
For the Conner Prairie Alliance
Food and Gift committee, September 1 isn’t the beginning; it is the culmination of several months of work. And it isn’t the end of the work, because throughout September and October we are still busy reordering, stocking the shelves. The committee orders the apple pies, donuts, beverages, popcorn, candy, snacks, canned goods and gift merchandise.
Our intrepid gift buyers were out and about in November of 2010 hunting down steals and deals for the upcoming season. They'll also be on the lookout throughout the spring and summer. Because we are a seasonal store, we concentrate on fall decorations (Halloween and Thanksgiving) and a bit of Christmas. Some gift items already purchased are tucked safely away until August when we stock the store.
As we find ourselves in mid-March, our committee will begin gathering to discuss our last season as we prepare for the new season. What was a great seller? What didn’t sell? I also have an odd assortment of paper scraps with customer suggestions: “lollipops that taste like hot chocolate,” anyone? By mid-May and into the summer there will be a road trip or two. We will be visiting a food and gift market, a potential new candy vendor and Shipshewana for pie filling.
Once our other vendor catalogs and price lists arrive, we begin to form our orders. The Apple Store label food products will be ordered by mid-June. Throughout the summer, more orders will be placed. The culmination of all this ordering and shopping is the end of August. Once the store is cleared out, scrubbed down and set up, crunch time is upon us! We have a limited number of days to receive stock, price it and stock the shelves. . . all for that magical date of September 1st!